Maternity Clothes and Other Items Of Limited Usefulness - Live Like a Mensch
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Maternity Clothes and Other Items Of Limited Usefulness


Photo of the most famous expectant mum in the world courtesy of Carfax2


I'm sure by now that you have heard the news that a new little British prince or princess is on the way. Of course, many news outlets are speculating on what maternity designers Duchess Kate will be wearing during her pregnancy.

But Kate does not have the problem that many of us in the real world may have/have had when considering maternity fashions: namely, the short-lived ability to fit into them.

Back when I was pregnant with LO, I did the hair-rubber band method of keeping my pre-pregnancy pants up over my expanding belly. It became clear fairly quickly into trimester two that my shirts could not completely cover the make-shift nature of my waistbands, and that I would have to purchase some clothes that actually fit my body as it currently was, and not as it once was.

A girlfriend accompanied me to Pea in a Pod, where I found the joy that is maternity tee-shirts. (Side note for my long-waisted brethren--modern maternity tees are just reeeeeaaally long, which means they're perfect even non-maternally for those of us who have more torso than the fashion world feels we're entitled to. It's wonderful to know that reaching up to scratch your chin will not result in belly-baring.)

I tried on several pairs of professional-looking pants and bought one pair. I purchased about ten of the afore-mentioned maternity tee shirts. (And those were about all I wore for the next year and a half). And I purchased two items of under-clothing architecture which had become surprisingly necessary.

After my little spree, my friend remonstrated with me for not purchasing more professional maternity wear. She wanted to know why I hadn't bought the cute dress I'd tried, or more professional pants. I pointed out that school would be out in June (I believe it was late March or early April at the time) and that I would have no need of professional maternity wear from then until LO made his debut in late August.

"But you need it now," my friend pointed out.

That gave me food for thought. Taken to its logical conclusion, refraining from purchasing items of limited usefulness would mean never buying fresh food, embracing the beige carpet effect, and moving into retirement homes as of age 22 because stairs are going to be too much for you in about 50 years. There is a real problem with refusing to purchase in the moment.

On the other hand, however, maternity clothes in particular are stupid expensive. Buying more professional wear would have cost a great deal more for less than 10 weeks of usefulness. The cost/benefit analysis really made me think it was better to show up to teach looking like a pregnant hobo.

As for the rest of my school year, I was able to look reasonably professional (and with no belly gap) by wearing my specially bought pants at least twice a week, and wearing my pre-pregnancy long skirts that could be hiked up over my new waistline the rest of the time. Getting dressed for those three-ish months might have been slightly easier if I had purchased a couple more sets of professional maternity clothes--but it still wouldn't have been worth it.

As it is, the few items that I bought (or was given) with the special stretchy belly are just mouldering in my closet right now. They've outlived their usefulness, even if J and I do decide to add to the family, since professional attire is no longer expected of me in my current work and life.


Perhaps I could send them to Kate.


(Well, except for the fact that she's about as big around as my wrist and is light years more fashionable. Otherwise, it's a sound plan.)

I suspect that even if I had the resources available to Kate, I would still refrain from overbuying maternity clothes. I hate the idea of spending money on items that so quickly become obsolete.



frugal_fun said:

Balancing the now and the future is by far the trickiest bit of managing personal finances. I have to confess that recently we've gone through a bought of frugal fatigue. We've gotten tired of dealing with crappiness today for some gleaming tomorrow that feels like it never gets here.

What that means for us is that we do buy the things that permanently improve our lives, particularly if they are little purchases, rather than plowing every last cent into savings. We won't go into debt for that "dream" vacation. We do, however, give ourselves permission to the organizers and home improvement stuff that makes life better daily and for a long time.

With the maternity stuff, I would have made the same decision, too.  :) It's only 12 months total at most (adding back time for post-partum).  It's one thing to buy a cute outfit that should be cute for several years. Quite another to buy something that will look like a tent in year.

January 2, 2013 8:32 PM

Esaungikar said:

In my mid-forties I've gotten to the stage where I'm going to spend more on the present and less on the future.  Having already experienced the need for reading glasses and additional knee support when doing sports, I know I have to get on with some of those bucket-list items now if I'm going to actually enjoy them (the Grand Canyon comes to mind).  

Regarding your maternity clothes, is there not someone closer by than Duchess Kate who could benefit from them?  When I was pregnant I actually borrowed most of my work clothes from someone else, and was better dressed than I usually am.  The rest were passed on, paying it forward.  Try posting them on Craigslist.

January 14, 2013 4:53 PM

jade45 said:

Even i hated the idea of getting myself maternity wears.But then with time,eventually we end up buying maternity wears.And i got myself some through online.Morph clothes are very beneficiary!! Their formal wears is what i used the most.

February 18, 2013 1:13 AM

Live Like a Mensch said:

Image courtesy of Majbns80 I've mentioned before how I am just as irrational as the next mensch when

September 10, 2013 8:53 AM

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